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November 2004

Allison Miller
5 a.m. Stroll
Foxhaven

Allison Miller is another hard swinging young drummer-composer based in New York. A protege of Michael Carvin, she has been on the scene since 1996, gigging with the likes of Kenny Barron, Rachel Z, George Garzone, Ingrid Jensen and Marty Ehrlich, among others. On her solo debut, 5 a.m. Stroll (Foxhaven), coproduced by Miller and drummer Lenny White, she mixes traditional swinging values and more contemporary influences with lots of potent drum solos along the way. Miller quickly establishes her swing credentials on the blazing opening title track, and then settles into a loping blues on "Wichita Falls," an ode to her Texas roots. Her highly impressionistic take on Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" brings a touch of hip-hop to the high priest of bop. Alto saxophonist Steve Wilson and tenor saxophonist Virginia Mayhew join together on the frontline for Miller's urgent, hard-boppish "Catnip," while the lazy second line groover "Miriam's Shuffle" is a tribute to her bass-playing colleague Miriam Sullivan. Elsewhere, Miller reveals some alluring brushwork on the melancholy ballad "Shadow's Reflection," and then takes the energy level up a couple of notches on the aggressive closer "1RS," a foreboding piece inspired by her first horrible New York City apartment.

Originally published in November 2004
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